The Pittsburgh Pirates made an interesting decision when they selected lefty reliever Jose Hernandez from the Dodgers in this past Rule V Draft. What made it interesting was the fact that Hernandez had never even pitched above High-A. Of course, being a Rule V selection means that the player must stay on the roster throughout the season.
Many wondered if Hernandez would be able to be effective enough to stick around and not hurt this team's depth in the bullpen. It was hard to imagine that the 25-year-old would become one of the breakout players for the 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates. Yet, that is exactly what has taken place so far.
Hernandez continues to develop into a quality lefty reliever. However, he showed the ability to go across multiple innings against a good Seattle Mariners lineup. This past Saturday the Pittsburgh Pirates were forced into a tough situation when starter Vince Velasquez left the game with elbow discomfort.
The team was already down 4-0 by the end of the second inning so it looked like a game that was going to get out of hand. Instead, rookie Jose Hernandez locked it down for 3 innings. Across those 3 innings of work, Hernandez did not allow a single run and did not walk a single batter. He only gave up 2 hits and struck out 2 as well.
Overall, this moved Hernandez's earned run average to 2.28 on the year. Obviously, the numbers are good, but this performance may have proven something else to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The fact that Hernandez was sprung into a game against a very well-known, good lineup and was able to pitch effectively says a lot. This performance should give Derek Shelton more confidence in going to Hernandez. Instead of just trying to find him innings, he has now shown that he is ready to take on more innings.